Black Girl Sunscreen founder, Shontay Lundy gets real about Black girls wearing sunscreen.
We’ve all heard that Black skin doesn’t need sunscreen because our melanin protects us naturally. Well, that’s not exactly true. Dark skin can burn too and Black people also can get skin cancer. Black and Brown skin also needs protection from the sun. Hyperpigmentation is a real issue for those who have darker skin and one of the ways to prevent further dark spots on your skin is to put a protective barrier on your face that will protect your face from the UV rays that the sun emits. Lundy found the secret sauce and created one of the most popular Black-owned beauty products on the market. A sunscreen made for Black girls that doesn’t leave an ashy hue! Lundy took some time out to tell us why she’s so passionate about Black skincare and how we should be using our downtime to care and treat for our skin.
What made you decided to create a sunscreen line for Black girls?
SL: I am a woman of the sun who knows the importance of protecting one’s skin from harmful sun rays! I love to travel and noticed a need for a sunscreen that did not turn Black skin purple due to the tint of available sunscreen lines.
A lot of Black people believe they don’t need sun protection. How do you encourage them that their skin needs to be protected from the sun, too?
SL: I encourage our consumers with facts! While there is the notion that “Black does not crack,” in actuality, it does. Yes, our skin has melanin but it is not enough to protect us from the harmful effects of rays from the sun. Hyperpigmentation is an effect from sun rays along with melanoma/skin cancer, sunburn, dark spots, and premature aging.
What does your personal skincare regime look like?
SL: I keep my skincare regime fairly simple; I could not live without my cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF.
What are the 4 beauty products you can’t live without?
SL: I cannot live without a light-weight face moisturizer, a toner, some type of face mask (hydrating preferred), and of course, Black Girl Sunscreen!
Why does your kid’s sunscreen have more SPF than your regular sunscreen?
SL: SPF 30 is the most common level for most people and skin types. Here’s the breakdown; no sunscreen can block all UV rays, but SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV rays and SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays. The difference between 30 and 50 is about 1 percent. So, we’ve made BGS kids with a higher SPF because kids typically have more sensitive skin than adults.
How can you tell when darker skin is burnt by the sun?
SL: Sunspots and skin peeling are telltale signs of skin being burnt by the sun.
Do you recommend wearing sunscreen even when it's not summertime? Wearing sunscreen year-round is extremely important?
SL: The number one reason women of color visit the dermatologist is because of hyperpigmentation and wearing SPF on a daily basis helps with evening out the complexion. During this new season of being confined to our homes, consumers have realized that sunscreen is essential regardless of the weather. If you WFH and sit next to the window, you are still exposed to UV rays. We are also exposed to Blue Light which is emitted from our laptops, phones, and TVs – sunscreen will also help with that. Lastly, UV rays come through the clouds and can penetrate the skin regardless of what season it is.
Will you ever consider a tinted moisturizer?
SL: There are many options we are considering as Black Girl Sunscreen expands.
What should Black girls be doing now that we're practicing social distancing?
SL: Take some time for yourselves! As Black women, we are always on the go juggling multiple things at once and oftentimes, we forget about ourselves. I would suggest taking some “me time” to try to unwind from the day’s events.
Finish this statement: Every Black girl should have these 4 items in their bag at all times...
SL: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, 20 bucks, their favorite lipstick/lip gloss, and a tampon/pad.